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D-Day Documents

1st Division - 16th Regiment - Headquarters Company - After Action Report

The Advance CP Group, on board “Henrico”, went down the nets on the side of the ship and loaded into LCM #26 at 0500 hours, and set sail for the beach.

The Advance Group, consisting of 102 men in LCM #26, moved toward the beach in rough sea. The weather was rainy and foggy. Many men were seasick and the small vomit bags which had been issued to each man, proved their usefulness. As the boats neared the beach, a considerable volume of fire, both shellfire and MG fire, was directed against the boat. The tide was low, or just on its way in, and the ramp on the LCM was dropped at 0720 hours several yards from shore. There was thus considerable distance to traverse, under heavy fire, to reach cover on the beach itself. In addition there was a send bar some 25 yards wide which had to be crossed to reach the beach proper.

As the ramp dropped, Lieutenant Hill was first off into the water, wits high, followed by men from his I&R Platoon. The communication group followed, carrying all its equipment, followed by Company Headquarters group, field artillery, and other attached men. There was very heavy fire. Officers and NCOs were active in trying to disperse the men, and in trying to get all equipment off boat, and onto shore. Approximately 35 officers and men were killed or wounded from the time the ramp went down until the beach was reached. When the beach was reached there was indescribable confusion. The beach was crowded. These was no exit off the beach which was open. One pill box was still firing. There were dead and wounded all over, on the beach in the water. Equipment was floating in the water, and strewn on the beach. Examples of bravery, courage, heroism and initiative during this period are too numerous to mention.

The rear C.P. Group, in one LCVP and one LCM , left the “Chase” at approximately 0615 hours, and proceeded toward the beach. At about 0815 the ramp was lowered. The boat was about 50 yards from shore. The boats had been under some artillery and machine gun fire on the way in, but as the ramp was lowered there was no fire immediately. The men went off orderly, into the water waist deep. All equipment was gotten off. As the last few men were getting off, the LCM was brought under fire, but no one was hit. There was no sand-bar to cross, such as the Advance Group experienced, and the distance to the beach was much shorter, due to the fact the tide had risen considerably.

The rear CP group got to the beach to find the same confusion and chaos which existed when the Advance Group hit. The group moved to the left in an effort to joint up with the Advance Group. Contact was made, but it was difficult to marshal the men together into any organized group, as they were too spread out. The primary task at this point was to take what cover was possible, save what equipment could be saved, rescue what men from the water that could be rescued, and last but not least, to try to get off the beach.

Midst all the confusion, one beach exit was opened, and the men started to move off the beach up onto the hillside, where there was defilade. Most the Headquarters and Headquarters Company men joined up at this point. The hillside was crowded with troops, but everyone had a hole, and there were several opportunities to use it.